Play School Presenters - Where Are They Now?

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Derek Griffiths

Today, he is 69 and has just joined the cast of Coronation Street where he will play a retired mechanic. This will just add to his list of productions that he has starred in, some including Miss Saigon and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Johnny Ball

Before Play School, Johnny worked as a Butlins Redcoat and northern club cabaret act. He's 75-years-old now, and recently just revealed in a BBC documentary that he, Rick Jones and Lionel Morton smoked drugs on the Play Away set.

He said: “They got stoned on the biggest joint you’ve ever seen — in the studio.

"We were in silhouette as the three shepherds with our crooks. Lionel purposely held his crook so the crook didn’t show.

"They were absolutely stoned out of their minds. I couldn’t work with it. I really couldn’t.”

Virginia Stride

Since Play School, Virginia has appeared in Z Cars and The Avengers. She also starred as Liz Champion in Champion House, has had several film and TV roles and eventually joined the Agatha Christie Theatre Company.

Gordon Rollings

Before Play School, he was trained as a clown in Paris and also had a small appearance in the Beatles' film A Hard Days Night –Ringo threw a dart in his lunch in a pub.

After Play School he became a story teller on Jackanory, narrate The Herbs and appeared in Carry On Doctor, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Superman 2 and Superman 3.

He died in 1985 at the age of 59.

Floella Benjamin

She started out with West End musicals (like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar) before joining Play School in 1976.

After the show, in 1987 she founded her own TV production company. In 2001 was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting. Then, in 2010, she was made a Lid Dem Life Peer, Baroness Benjamin, of Beckenham in the County of Kent.

Brian Cant

When he auditioned for Play School in 1971 he actually climbed into a cardboard box, pretending it was a boat and began “rowing out to sea”.

After the show he was a part of  Doctor Who, Doctors and Life On Mars.He is now 80-years-old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1999.

Fred Harris

After the show he fronted several computing shows for the BBC like Make it Count and also dabbled in comedy.

He now presents called Broom Cupboard on British Forces Broadcasting Service.

Toni Arthur

After the show she went on to present Woman's Hour and has also written and directed some award-winning plays.


Paul Danquah

Paul was the first black presenter of a children's programme.

In the 70's he moved to Tangiers with his partner.

Julie Stevens

Now 77, she had a role in The Avengers and Carry On Cleo.

During a reunion, Julie revealed Prince Andrew had once visited the set. She asked him how old he was and he said he was six.

She said: "That's a bit old for Play School. It goes up to five - you'll be watching other programmes soon."

But the Prince replied: "I am going to watch it for ever and ever and ever."

Julie said: "It was a fabulous programme to do. It had a special place in children's hearts - when their mother came in during the show they would say 'Sshhh'.

"It was for them and only for them."

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